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Discussion on the plane visibility issue


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While there are a lot of fair points there is a very key solution that has to be reached if you truly want to resolve the spotting issue.

Spotting has to be made as consistent as possible between different resolutions/graphics settings.

The issue is that a player could hop in game on a 4k monitor with SSAO on, and have a gamma setting of 1.2, and be blind as a bat. 

Meanwhile the player that had a resolution 1080p with all low graphics settings, HDR on, and a gamma of .6, and no anti aliasing would out spot the 4k player every time.

The spotting game at this point in time is a combination of luck depending on your monitor resolution, and constant graphics tweaking. The fact that using ReShade is such a common occurrence to tweak their ability to spot targets is telling of this. 

An example of the inconsistent spotting is the following.

A friend of mine has a 1080p monitor, and finds that with no anti aliasing he can easily spot contacts in excess of 15km range.

However if I, on a 1440p monitor, turn off anti aliasing, contacts will disappear as early as 3-4km away if I do not zoom in. The only solution is to turn on MSAA 4x. Then I can maintain visual on aircraft to around 15km as well.

It's this type of inconsistency that makes it so hard for newer players to have any chance at multiplayer. This is not a result of players exploiting the game, but just the nature of spotting being so inconsistent. 

Try to make spotting as consistent as possible across different set ups
Then we can worry about aircraft being hard to spot against forests, etc. First, we need to make sure that every player has a comparable spotting experience. 

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I should perhaps add that in those rare cases where I fly online, usually as a ground attacker, I purposefully and carefully choose the skin depending on the map, season and even the flight path. If I fly across the snowy, empty steppes, I take a plain white camo scheme. If my planned flight path leads me across winter forests, I go for white with green. If necessary, I adjust my flight path so that I have optimum camo for as long as possible.

 

Exactly the fact that spotting is hard leads to another game element to me. It means that when ground attacking, besides going high and fast there's the additional possibility of sneaking in at low level and attempting to remain undetected.

Edited by AEthelraedUnraed
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@Han Thank you so much for starting this thread and requesting feedback on this very contentious issue! 

 

I believe that, when it comes to spotting, the goal for the dev team should not be making it easier or making it more realistic - it should be bringing parity across all devices (monitors and VR) and configurations (different resolutions, NVIDIA settings, and startup.cfg settings). Easier said than done, I know, but I think that is why you are seeing so many differing opinions. Everyone has a slightly different setup and we are all comparing apples to oranges. I would much rather sacrifice any ability I have to spot contacts at range if I knew that I was seeing roughly the same thing in VR that someone on a monitor is seeing, that someone running the game with max detail on a 4K monitor has roughly the same ability to spot a contact as someone running the game in 1080p on low graphics settings.

 

Bottom line, whatever changes you make, please please please have your testers compare the results across a variety of VR headsets, monitors, and graphics settings.

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Realism and practical spotting are not, and should be treated as contradictory things. Spouting off that the present spotting is "realistic" in theory is fantastic, but in practice the end-user experience is far from what anyone can describe as "realistic". Present spotting is a mess of settings metagaming, of knowing which boxes to check and in what order, of trading graphical fidelity and immersion in chunks for the added competetiveness of smaller pixel density, harsher flickering contacts at range, or more outstanding plane contrast against the ground. Users who do this, who optimize their monitor and in-game graphical settings for AA performance have a ridiculously lopsided advantage against those who do not. This is not "realism", this is a meta-game defined by artificial difficulty that punishes users on lower spec monitors, or users who are new and unaware that such a meta even existed.

And where does the meta lead players? On Combat Box, the vast majority of pilots on both Red and Blue are incapable of spotting aggressively, and thus remain as point CAP because they hope to leverage the airfield's AA tracers, the server's radar callouts, or any friendly aircraft nearby as a support to their poor visibility. Thus, the meta is pretty suicidal for attackers and bombers in general because every pilot with a mind for fighter combat simply camps known defensive positions waiting for AA to illuminate targets. Thus, massive uncoordinated furballs tend to form and remain static over objectives as pilots who take the initiative to hunt ahead of their own lines or escort strikes of bombers are always at a disproportionate disadvantage in game.

332 gets regularly thwarted by spotting issues, as if we stack our fighter screen any higher and farther than 1Km from the bombers/attackers they often risk losing the attack flight outright, or often risk not being able to spot any threats at all before it closes with the formation and kills a bomber. And thus, we adopt unrealistically rigid and tight formations to tactically accomodate the unrealistically close spotting. We often try to use combat spread, which IRL was anywhere from a 1 mile - 3 mile distance, but doing so great a distance is simply impractical in the present spotting meta, with the more workable distance in-game for combat spread being closer to half a mile or less. Past half a mile or less, even experienced lead/wingman fighter pairs struggle to maintain visual on each other.

We can have practical spotting that does not sacrifice the spirit of realism. Things like increasing reflections on planes, increasing contrast of silhouttes against the ground, or simply adjusting the vibrancy of colors across the board are all simple and effective steps away from the present impractical spotting without resorting to adjusting scaling. Reshade proves that simply adjusting colors, contrast, and filters can make a world of difference to many people, and that workable results are entirely possible even with the current dubious rendering and scaling.

Edited by -332FG-LemonQuat
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Reshade when properly applied makes this game so much more vivid, beautiful, and realistic in image. Also helps spotting with sharpness and contrast. Maybe simple color tweaks to the stock image would help, and increase to reflection/contrast of planes. Idk. But spotting is pretty easy IRL compared to this game. See my previous post. 

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S!

 

Spotting is laughable in GB. Simple as that. Countless times planes vanish in front of you, even you know where they should be. OR they just go unnoticed past you even you know where they should be. Klingon cloaking devices or what? Or just improper/excess use/implementation of different shaders, post-processing filters and whatnot? Claiming realism for realism´s sake usually turns a product to worse. Compromises have to be done and can be done without sacrificing "realism". Cliffs of Dover is a prime example of this. Spotting is easier and more consistent without being arcadey. Sure as mentioned above, the LOD transitions from a dot to actual objects are abrupt in some cases. But I can live with that and TFS could look into and improve it at some point. A lot of people I know who have started flying Blitz/Tobruk have enjoyed the fact that you can see, finally. Not flying from inside a fishbowl filled with dirty water.

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I am glad the Dev Team is looking at this topic with interest. As for this subject I can only share the inputs regarding my online experience so far.

I am an amateur photographer and have my 4K monitor calibrated (Data Color) and have tried all the tricks and settings (e.g. 4K monitor, GPU and Simulator wise) I could find out there in order to improve the spotting ability with absolutely no avail.

Visually Great Battles is absolutely stunning at 4K with all settings maxed (Sim and GPU). And it’s a well optimized piece of software… I am flying @4K max settings (AA method is FXAA) with a 2013 build machine. Only the GPU was updated from two SLI 780 to a single 2070 (august 2019).

I am an old 1946 and Cliffs Of Dover user (never flew @4K with those platforms though) and I have never experienced the difficulties (not even close) I am having with Great Battles.

I often do some ground pounding and I find out that spotting ground targets are a fairly easy going thing @4K. If I drop my resolution (on my native 4K) ground spotting will become substantially difficult, in particular for the fast firing and flak guns. Somewhat odd?

Also, when dropping my resolution, from my native resolution (4K), the simulator loses a great part of its visual beauty and becomes very shimmering even with all settings maxed up. And, as stated earlier, ground targets become more difficult do spot… on the other hand, air targets can become slighter better to spot (I would say between 5% to 15% max depending on the conditions and/or situations) but a lot more difficult to identify because the aircrafts shapes become a shimmering fest with rather inferior contour definitions.

I always fly on comms and the spotting  experience, as shared by fellow pilots, is very different apart. From people being totally blind (as me @4K) to something more close to the experience I had when flying 1946 and Cliffs of Dover… this wide spectrum spotting ability is, definitely, something that intrigues me. Even VR guys (I’m @4K + TIR 5 Pro) are kicking my butt out as far as air spotting goes.

To sum it all, @4k, the air spotting experience (on my end at least) is very, very painful and an utterly nightmare to the point I have considered (many times) to stop flying Great Battles due to an enormous amount of frustration… specially when you are on comms and are hearing fellow pilots seeing and spotting far way better than you in all sorts of situations (even with bad weather and lighting conditions) as consistently as you can possibly imagine.

As an example of that wide spectrum spotting ability, the other day, flying on Combat Box, A P-51 was able to detect, from contrails level, my tiny 109 flying on the deck on the way home. On my end, I am just unable to spot a big P-38 out of 3000m lol. Tacview and Sim tracks are posted in the IL-2 Sturmovik Battle of Stalingrad Community FB page. The OP is by Luzitano Chevalier (The P-51 driver) with the title “Pony doing pony stuff...”.

Maybe pilots are able to spot air targets on the deck from contrails height in a regular basis. I definitely can’t! Not even half close!

~S~

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First of all there should be a distinction made between spotting and tracking, they are not the same animal.  It's easy as pie for me to detect large contacts such as heinkels and tante's out at 10 to 20 Km's, far easier than tracking a formation of them already spotted and known at 2.5 to 5.  That's just plain wrong.

 

I'd like to see something sort of like the locking ring in this clip works.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpjjTaG7_gM

 

As a tracking aid, you already spotted the contact and know it's there, you push a key, ring comes up, you place it over the contact, lock it up.  It only works within a set distance, controlled by server or user, and renders only as long as the the contact remains within your field of vision.  If he get obstructed by the canopy or out of visual contact for more than X seconds set by user, the ring disappears, you must find and reacquire with eyeballs.  This would allow a pilot to realistically glance about while fighting close in without fear of losing a visual contact he's already established, ID's, engaged, and is actively tracking.  It also allows one opportunity to realistically break contact and escape.

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I'm  a member of the ACG (Air Combat Group). We are probably the biggest "clan" around with over 140 active players spread over 14 squadrons (8 allied and 6 Luftwaffe) one of which I'm currently the CO of. Thus I had the opportunity to talk to a lot of people about their experiences when it comes to spotting (and other issues of course).

 

What we noticed is a big inconsistency amongst our members on how good they are able to spot contacts. Even with the same resolution and similarly sized monitors, there still seems to be a huge discrepancy. Some see very good, some not at all, but most of them claimed that they find spotting to be too hard. We never experienced something similar while we were still flying in Cliffs of Dover. Results are much more consistent there, and no one had the same show-stopping experiences some have in this game. So there's definitely something terribly wrong here in this regard. And other than what @[TLC]MasterPooner thinks, you can easily spot contacts 10 to 12 km away in Cliffs (MasterPooner, you should try to meddle with your settings a bit, the max spotting range in Cliffs is 16 km...). 

 

I for one can spot reasonably well on winter maps, but I don't see much (almost nothing, actually) on the summer maps, especially when looking down. As I mostly fly the German planes this is especially annoying since I can't use real world tactics in them because, obviously,  you can only bounce someone if you can find him first, which for me is next to impossible. For this reason I started using reshade, which did make things a little better, but still much worse than in Cliffs. In fact I can spot better in Cliffs with a 4K resolution than in this game in 1K...

On all maps, I can see targets very far away if they are approximately at my altitude, but as soon as they climb or descend, I loose them completely. Everything above a 30° angle above my line of flight or about 10 ° below it just disappears. Spotting contacts above you is no problem in RL, but for me, it is a big problem in this game. Also, I find it very annoying that planes get harder to spot when you come closer to them - this is exactly the opposite of realism...

 

Another thing many of us noticed is that spotting on the older maps (Stalingrad and Moscow) is quite a bit easier than on the newer ones and especially hard over the Rheinland map. 

We also noticed the annoying disappearance of planes that do not get rendered for a certain amount of time and then pop back up all of a sudden. This happens in all kinds of situations, not just in front of clouds. 

 

I agree with you that realism is key, I've been a hard-core simmer for the last 25 years, but the spotting experience we have now is not realistic. Not in the least. At least not for a lot of the players that are unlucky enough to have a hardware combination that doesn't work well with the game.

And don't be fooled by pilot reports. Just because airplanes were shot down without the pilot knowing what hit them doesn't mean it would have been hard for the guy to spot his attacker if he only had looked in the right direction in the first place.

 

But on the plus side, I read in some German reports that they often saw the shadow of a plane on the ground long before they could see the actual plane. I had this phenomenon in BoX now a few times which I think is great. So shadows actually work perfectly already. If we can also get a more consistent user experience concerning aircraft spotting across the board, things will be fine.

As it is now, a lot of my fellow pilots hate being shot down simply because the guy that shot them down had an easier time spotting contacts.

 

And finally, concerning the new lighting model, quite a few of the guys I asked are very happy with it, claiming they can see things better now, but the majority of the people either sees no difference or even thinks spotting is now even worse than before.

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@Han Realistic vs fun do not have to be mutually exclusive. A big reason pilots wouldn't see someone shooting at them while maintaining formation is that their formation spacing is too close. Being so close to a wingman makes it necessary for you to focus all your attention on him, therefore reducing your situational awareness by not being able to look around. In Il-2 the same thing happens if you fly close formation in a combat area as there are many instances of killing two airplanes in one pass as a result, but with the visibility how it is currently you can't always fly a regular combat spread formation because you'll lose sight of them even without them changing their heading/altitude during your regular scan for enemy aircraft.

 

In general contacts need to get progressively much darker the further their distance away to enhance their contrast because the spotting against the sky and landscape is much harder than in RL. One other big problem to face with visibility is difficulty in simulating the depth of field (DOFi) we achieve when our eyes focus at a certain distance when we spot something, so when our eyes catch the relative movement of the target we can easily focus on it, making everything other than that range look slightly blurred (which may be why I like using the "blurred" landscape option). In RL if we were to focus on the landscape...then the landscape is sharp, but the aircraft would be slightly blurry yet still register as an object in our field of vision (FOV). In Il-2 we can try to focus on an aircraft when we see it but because it's on a 2D screen we can't truly focus and ignore the background because the screen dictates what we see, not what our eyes would see. This is something attributing to eye strain people are experiencing I think...our eyes are trying to focus on an object to separate it from it's background, but we can't because it's on displayed on a screen in RL where the distance to the object and background are exactly the same ie - The distance from your eye to the monitor, not to the object of focus.

 

From another thread I wrote this about visibility:

"Assuming high environmental visibility, which is what we have in the sim, we should be seeing fighter sized targets easily to 5nm (9km), but out to a max of around 7nm (13km). When I was learning to fly and while flight instructing I would not only see small general aviation airplanes at 5nm routinely,  but regain the tally quickly after looking away. In the airliner I fly now I have no problems seeing planes like the CRJ, E175, B737, A320, etc at rear aspect etc out to 15-17nm (27-37km). A little further if they're turning and showing greater planform. C17, A380, etc can be seen even further still. Yes, of course they're bigger but I'm seeing them much further and wouldn't expect to see fighters out that far personally"

 

We are flying while looking at monitors with limited pixel density compared to our eyes, so we will never get realism 1:1 like what we have in RL by using pure mathematical formulae for spotting and saying that because the math is right the spotting must be right . This means that a compromise needs to be made so we won't have 1:1 for realism in spotting, but something that gives the illusion of 1:1 instead without the need to "zoom" and change your FOV at all to spot targets.

 

Now I would never expect something like what I'm showing below as I'm sure it's extremely difficult to do, but an interesting spotting enhancement could be that once your eye catches relative movement of an aircraft during your scan you can press a "focus" toggle button which would make the sky/ground blurry, but keep airplanes close by (within 5nm (9km)) sharpened to simulate focusing on a target at close range (cockpit would also stay unblurred obviously). It's subtle but it could be an effective option to improve spotting at close ranges when coupled with the other improvements to contrast and rendering. I made these as a quick example of what I mean.

Original

2.thumb.jpg.8fa6f2e31f66645ca2dd8e6b815981f5.jpg

Focused

1.thumb.jpg.c032039acde2ba21906f5404a6dd37d8.jpg

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I wholeheartedly agree with Requiem. I think making small contacts darker against the backdrop would fix a lot of the spotting issues we have. And I think it could also easily be tweaked not to be too obvious. It would help everybody in the same way and likely take away the worst problems quite a few players have.

 

Also, I think that's probably what Cliffs and 1946 do to enhance the spotting experience. 

Edited by ACG_daHeld
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Thanks for bringing this topic up.

Like almost all that replied I also would go for the most realistic total game experience. If that means making spotting a little less realistic then go for it. 

 

The comments about zoom function are most interesting. Fact that I need to use the zoom (binoculars basically) constantly to scan around trying to spot does not make sense. If a spotted bandit disappears by zooming out while it should technically be visible then realism is already not there for spotting. Apart from spotting being difficult.

 

I also recognize the comments above about just flying around hoping for tracers, AA or Flak to assist a bit in spotting.

As a new player (~2 months now) ID'ing a plane is already though enough. Not being able to spot solves that issue though, but it makes the learning curve even steeper. 

 

General consensus is that the current spotting state is not okay (regardless if it's currently deemed realistic):

I noticed this within a week or 2 just by looking at the number of topics about graphic settings, gamma  changes and reshade.

I can understand that given competitive playing tweaking such things can give you a 'slight' advantage. But it should not be necessary to start tweaking to get to a playable situation. 

 

- Many experienced/long term players addressed some bugs/points that can be looked into. (But since current state of game is known. I assume they are already known by the team) 

- Any change should be HW robust 

- If I should be able to see a plane given range and conditions IRL then the game should strife to do the same. 

 

If current spotting is realistic it apparently hinders other realism levels in game. Apparently players adapt formations etc which is less realistic just to cope with this. Same goes for the need to zoom and scan. If it means that by making spotting less 'realistic' but in overall make the game itself more realistic. Then I don't see any reason why not to make changes. 

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I've been reading thought this thread and I think I see a problem. Defining the terms would help. There is an obvious break among us that tracks with the term 'realism' or 'realistic'. These words seem to mean different things depending on who is using them and that is driving some of the debate in a way that won't lead to a productive, actionable answer. I don't know the science of optics from a hole in the ground so I can't help in defining the terms. Rather than talking in subjective terms, which most are, it would help if we had a concrete, agreed upon, definition of what is real. Then, at the very least, we'd all be on the same page and could argue over the facts, after all the spotting in game can't be simultaneously realistic and unrealistic as people are claiming.

 

One thing I'll pitch in as a suggestion to add or look into as spotting is concerned is reflections and light glinting off planes. I was playing around in the Desert Wings expansion of CLOD when I saw a flash of light as a plane made a turn; I guess it was the sun reflecting off of canopy glass. It occurred to me that I've not seen that kind of thing in Great Battles and it struck me as odd. It wouldn't help too much in the mid range spotting, probably, but it might make longer range contacts a bit harder to miss if the conditions are right for a glint to be seen. It would also add to the authenticity of the visual modeling; I find it hard to believe that a plane made up of metal and glass wouldn't cause some glinting.

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 Han,

 

             Thank you for starting this topic open to feedback. As with the large majority of  my virtual pilot colleagues, I lean toward a realistic simulation/game experience.

 I would not suggest any major change to make it easier, but I think there is substance to the claim that "harder is not necessarily more realistic" The actual spotting airplanes is pretty good right now, except for low flying planes against the ground. If I am high above yes they should be almost impossible to see, but when I am only a few hundred meters away I should at least be able to see them moving. Also I have see the disappearing plane occurrence many times. When flying high, like over 3000 meters, I hardly ever see the tracer fire from dogfights. Now this is not right. That ought to be seen for miles..its just common sense. Also I see a lot of friendly fire on multiplayer..Yes this happened in real life but in the game it happens too much because planes are too hard to identify until close. They look too dark and fuzzy from far away. Maybe this is a hardware limitation, I don't know. But I am sure in real life a person with normal 20/20 vision should be able to I.D. an aircraft from 1000 meters at least.

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13 hours ago, -=PHX=-SuperEtendard said:



unknown.png

 

Mister SuperEtendard illustrated it best. I've tried to explain this before and was received with negativity from both the community and the staff. By the way, the reasons why there will be more support for the 'realism' aspect is because the community, staff and results of the game have scared people away. This is my experience here, take it for what you will.


I want furballs from time to time. Many versus many. I want to spot other planes BEFORE they shoot tracers. And BEFORE puffy ack shoots at it from time to time. I don't think anybody here is asking for warthunder or anything like that. I'm not.

 

I've made the point before, how much air combat would occur without tracers or puffy ack?

Thanks for reading. All respect of course, I understand the view points, I have studied World War 2 and World War 2 air combat extensively myself and there are aspects of this game that are arguably not realistic. There are solutions for this that do not have to include ruining the game for those that like it's state in my view.

 

Also a side note, I discovered the last time I played that those with VR have a modification that allows them binocular view and to remove the propeller. That is how some people are spotting.

 

Those without VR do not have the binocular view *cheat* and therefore cannot zoom in to see the planes render. There may be other cheats that I'm not aware of besides this one as well.

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Hi Han I am incredible happy that the IL2 devs are finally looking into spotting, it is a major issue with this game and one of the last two major ones before this game is truly something special.  Spotting has long been debated.  So let me make my position on this  clear straight from the start; in order to achieve realistic levels of vision requires modifications to the game, and that is an indisputable fact.  The way our eyes work can not be realistically simulated on a monitor without changes period.  As one who has constantly fought to get spotting improved to better match realistic vision if you take nothing else from what I write below I hope you take what I just wrote above to heart as I think it will get you on the right path with vision in IL2.

 

Lets start breaking some things down:

 

"the harsh historical truth is that most of the Soviet Air Force pilots died without ever seeing an enemy aircraft in the crosshair of their sight."

 

Well lets think this through through if they didn't spot the enemy ofc they would probably die but I wonder how many cases occurred where they did infact spot the enemy, made an evasive maneuver, and the German pilot backed off?  Yes we have numbers for how many times people died without ever seeing an enemy but how many times did they see an enemy and survived because of it?  We don't have these numbers so lets not let this lead us to the simple conclusion that since most people died because they didn't see an enemy the enemy is impossible to see!  Its in the same vein of a belief I've seen in the tank world where people say we must have very thick side armor and can sacrifice frontal armor on tanks because most tanks killed are shot in the sides.  Even though the reason there aren't many frontal tank kills is because of the heavy armor on the front.  Lets not make this same logical error.

 

I think this statement is also indicative of a very big misconception that aircraft are near impossible to see beyond sub 5km ranges as has been told to me multiple times on these very forums...

ZptNCjE.png

this was a study done by the army on head on detection and identification of aircraft by ground spoters (there are also graphs for offset viewing of aircraft).   Now by looking at this chart it is interesting to note there is a non-zero chance for the detection of aircraft out to the max range of the test of 20km.  The F4 understandable but the T33 is a tiny and near smokeless jet aircraft, yet it still had a nonzero chance of being seen at 20km.

6qthxJc.png

But it gets better this graph is for this aircraft:

ix6GWa1.jpg

its a truly tiny aircraft yet still... it did not drop below a 20% detection chance at13km.  

 

I completely agree with the above as well from an anecdotal standpoint as well.  Where I live just so happens to be a spot between two major local airports, the long final of an international airport, and the direct line between two very active military bases.  Which means I often see a minimum of dozens of aircraft every day, all the way from ultra lights to GA to large civilian, to miltiary big and small.   I always like to tell the story of a flight of A10's:

They flew directly over my house at low altitude, low enough I could clearly tell all of the jets in the 4 ship were completely clean. Now having asked my communities resident A10 pilot, habu, I knew that A10's the overwhelming majority of the time fly around at 100% throttle. And I had both Habu's opinion on a flight speed and the max speed chart for the speed of an A10 at the altitude at which they would be flying at. That speed would be around 360+-20mph. From directly over head it took about 50-60 seconds to go to a black dot where I was no longer able to tell what they were. About 90 seconds to the point where I would most likely need to be cued to their location had I not known where they were and about 130 seconds until they disappeared. Visibility that day was 20+Nmi

Now ofc the A10 is a big aircraft really only the P38 would be comparable to it but still I've had similar experiences with F16's that have flown over.  Infact what is truly interesting is how much easier spotting a group of aircraft in fingertip becomes, at ranges where I would have normally lost sight of one or not seen it if I hadn't known it was there I was still able to easily see the 4ship.

 

The pilots themselves often complained that they were unable to observe and search for the enemy, because all attention was spent on formation holdingThis example suggests that in order to successfully search for air targets, it was necessary to focus the vision and scan the space using a sequential scan method.

 

Yes!  This is why modern pilots are trained on how to scan the sky and why there are so many research papers and manuals on this subject!  Scanning is incredible important for vision as long range vision is concentrated in a very small piece of your vision the fovea.

  

hZdAFgZ.png

 

Just for example this is a graphic representing the visual detection lobe of a single eye.   Of note is just under 3Nmi the size of the detection area significantly increases.  This is why you may here people use numbers such as you can only see aircraft at x range under 3Nmi it's because at these ranges the detection of aircraft should become very trivial.  They should, and I've experienced this often as well, cause your eyes to "pop" onto them the moment your brain starts to detect movement.  I've personally had cases of where small GA aircraft at 3ish km from me well out side the fovea would cause my eyes to jump once they came inside of my peripheral.  And hence why you often see numbers in this range quoted as being the detection ranges on small aircraft, not because it is the actual make visual range but because its the range where you should start to see stuff easily even in the peripheral vision.

 

Yet currently at the range I just described it can be next to impossible to see something without being all the way zoomed in even though it should be the range 2-6km where you vision can start seeing things not in your peripheral vision.  Hec I've lost sight of an HE111 that was within 2-3km.  We were escorting him in 109's 2--3 km directly above him and offset around .5km.  The only reason we knew where he was was he was on comms with us and he would turn on his lights and fire flares.  Something that's the size of a small airliner was next to impossible to see at 2-3km (even when zoomed in) against the ground.  Not that against the sky is much better.

 

 

But my question is - are we trying to do our best to make a realistic air combat simulator? How these requirements are compatible with the desire for realism

 

The thing that I think we all need to accept here is that spotting aircraft isn't as hard as some make it out to be or want to believe it is.  While it can be difficult to get your eyes on the target if you don't scan and are fixated on formation flying or are just looking in the wrong area if you do get your eyes on the target it is not hard to see them even out to 10km if not more depending on lighting conditions.  The hardest issue with spotting isn't' really seeing an enemy aircraft but its getting that piece of your vision that is excellent at seeing targets on the target.

 

Now that I've gone through you post a bit lets discuss what other games have done to solve this problem, it could give you guys ideas on what needs to be done in the end.  These are informed both from my own experiences, the experiences of pilot friends of mine, and papers I've read 

 

Contrast adjustments:

https://warthunder.com/en/devblog/current/836

This is a devblog from Warthunder the game which imo has the best spotting system out there right now, its not perfect but its very very very good.  They deal with the issues of spotting against terrain and sky with contrast adjustments to deal with pixel color bleed, and scaling using SSAA.  As a story, a friend of mine, an active duty pilot, we were able to convince and drag into trying warthunder tanks just so he could tell us what he thinks of the spotting when we inevitable got killed by aircraft moments after we spawned.  He was amazed to put it lightly, his exact words were "wow.... that's so natural looking... amazing!"

Scaling:

https://why485.itch.io/smart-scaling-demonstration

This is a demo for the method employed by BMS and it also includes more modernized versions that compensate for screen resolution and zooming in.  Now the game that uses this, BMS ain't perfect, as it uses the older raw sefross scaling which is a less flexible scaling equation (not that it doesn't work quite well) but it lacks any contrast or color adjustments that warthunder has.

 

Edited by nighthawk2174
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I would love to see aircraft visibility improved at distance and against terrain specifically, as well as a more defined and detailed site picture at closer distances (say 2km and under, minimum).  The current state of spotting and aircraft ID is pretty prohibitive, and unrealistic from what I’ve gathered talking to IRL pilots, and even seems less accurate on a virtual basis according to some buddies who play DCS. 

 

 Spotting, losing tally everytime I check six, and aircraft ID difficulties (due to bad spotting) are the main reason I took so long to get into multiplayer.  I’m still paranoid everytime I engage anything that isn’t a P38, and so mostly stick to ground attack out of worry about nuking a friendly.  

Edited by AirWolves=Jakey-Poo
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I play only SP, 1920x1080 resolution and Im struggling to see enemy planes.

Im for max realism as possible, however the enemy AI can see me without problem.

So reduce situation awarenes of the AI, so they cant see me too or make the planes more visible.

I dont like icons and I dont use them, but i would like to have as a option in the menu increased visibility of the planes. (something like IL Blitz has, shining, blinking reflection of the canopy).

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Realistic spotting is impossible due to the inherent issues of screens and this is where smart scaling comes in by making the contacts show somehow bigger by not just being represented by just a pixel.

 

However, IL2 series introduced this some months ago and people started complaining that it was too easy to spot. Sure, there were some issues like zooming in and the contact became smaller but it was great not to struggle a lot looking for small pixels moving which in the end less realistic and frustrating.

 

Some say that real pilots said "it was difficult" and I'm sure as hell it was, but difficult is not an exact measure, not scientific. How difficult it was? How many km.? And the even if we have exact answers to these questions we still have to deal with the reality that we are playing a game in flat screens with varying sizes, resolutions, lighting, DPI, etc. and I honestly think that smart scaling is the solution to represent the real life spotting as best as we can. 

 

Hopefully they will tackle smart scaling again and the community will keep their mind open. Anyway, it is a good call from 1C to present the issue like this and open the discussion.

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An interesting debate. However, IMO the "realism" aspect falls flat simply because we're not perceiving the real world with the resolution and capabilities of good old human Eyeball Mk. 1, but a pixelated computer generated one usually on a 2D screen. That one can never match reality at the current state of computing power. As such IMO a compromise is needed but how that may look is currently beyond me.

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While I want a realistic sim, I also know that the real pilots were selected from those having the most excellent eye sight.  There isn't a way for us all to have excellent eye sight like the real pilots had.  For me, having less than excellent eye sight is one of the reasons spotting is hard, and why I wouldn't have been chosen as a pilot.  So if the sim goes for ultra realistic does that mean that those outside the less than 1% who have good eyesight, shouldn't be pilots?  Personally I prefer a simulation that replicates the flight of the aircraft and conflicts while relaxing some of the requirements that real fighter pilots must meet, that many of us probably don't meet, such as physical fitness, eyesight, height/weight, etc.  Basically the very reasons why we can't be combat pilots in the real world and at least why I (if not we) are playing these games instead.  I am not asking for labels on as those are obnoxious and blatant, I am just asking for maybe a couple more pixels.

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2 hours ago, JG27_M-C said:

I am glad the Dev Team is looking at this topic with interest. As for this subject I can only share the inputs regarding my online experience so far.

 

...

 

As an example of that wide spectrum spotting ability, the other day, flying on Combat Box, A P-51 was able to detect, from contrails level, my tiny 109 flying on the deck on the way home. On my end, I am just unable to spot a big P-38 out of 3000m lol. Tacview and Sim tracks are posted in the IL-2 Sturmovik Battle of Stalingrad Community FB page. The OP is by Luzitano Chevalier (The P-51 driver) with the title “Pony doing pony stuff...”.

 

Maybe pilots are able to spot air targets on the deck from contrails height in a regular basis. I definitely can’t! Not even half close!

 

~S~

 

 

This is comon thing i think, i mostly play at 6-7km and can easy see contacts on few 100m from ground, if they are bright they are allied and dark they are axis, so from up high you can even know if its frendly or enemy even though you cant see what type it is exept judge by size if its twin or single. Now problem is that guys who play at 2-4km alts will not see that low guy on deck , also if i start to dive on that contact on deck that i clearly see from 6-7km i will lose him as i get closer and have to predict in most cases what he will do and look franticly for him as i get to 1km alt and thats strange in this game, you can see contact below you beter the far you are from him ( its on expert visbility) , and you have to do a lot of guess work while diving on it to be able to intecept. Flying on deck your safe from mid alt guys, your not visable to them, but high guys will see you, but problem for high guys are thouse mid alt guys as you didnt see them ( because of same problem of conatcts at mid distances from you) when you dived on low guy you see so easy. 

Edited by CountZero
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I think the spotting is bloody hard at the moment. And that this is exactly as it should be. I agree with @Han that the most challenging spotting conditions are in the lower hemesphere, against the ground or sea. What compounds this seems to me to be the loss of reflectivity  of light off contact surfaces and 'glinting' at much closer range than would be the case in real life. Once a contact gets far enough away that the LoD model goes down one (or two?) stages we don't get the light flashing off the wings, prop, or canopy any more. If this were enhanced (or enabled), I would be very happy with the way things work.

 

Fwiw, I'm very much on the side of wanting a realistic experience from Il2. 

 

Thank you for raising this issue and allowing us to discuss it here. Thousands wouldn't. 

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I disagree that the difficulty of spotting in game right now especially in the 1-6km region is accurate but I will agree with you Diggun that glint could definitely be improved.  Not only in its intensity (which imo needs a boost) but also in the range that it occurs at both closer and farther.

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Realism please, I don't have much trouble spotting aircraft and can track them fairly well on a 2560 x 1440 monitor. However, occasionally it is very easy to lose a contact in shadow or against trees etc. It sometimes seems as if the aircraft  just "blends in".

 

As for the alternative visibility setting I find it to be horrendous and will never use it.  I know lots of people hate zoom but I like it because it makes up for the deficiencies of a 2D monitor regarding the functions of a human eye like dynamic range, vergence movement, object focus etc.

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Those who want the present vs alternate viewing are doing so because there successful, not because they want realism. Each system provides winners and losers.
 

But that’s not the point.  The point is to provide an authentic experience.  The most realistic game play experience is based on overcoming the short comings of the viewing systems and equipment most players has access to.

 

prrception of reality is the key.if reality is the goal

 

jokkr

Edited by WB_jokkr
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Apologies if anyone has already discussed this, but in case no-one is familiar with it, there is a standardized method of testing visibility performance in a uniform, repeatable, meaningful way.

 

This is how the developers can do it, and get to a resolution on how realistic, or non-realistic this game, or future games, are.

 

Create a set of visual targets of alternating black and white stripes of a known and constant width. Each Black/white pair is a "bar", and each target should have at least 4 bars. You will want a procession of these targets, starting from one with the width between each bar is about 1/2 a major aircraft feature (say, the span of one of the aircraft wings), with each target 1/2 the width of the last one, until you've gotten to the smallest reasonable feature size you think you will care about. (You can, if you really want to, go on forever. Where to start and stop is a bit of engineering judgement).

 

You'll need a real physical set, and an identical set modeled in game. The physical set could just as easily be black and white tarps. (doesn't have to be micrometer precision, but try to be within 10%).

 

Set the real ones up so that you can do visibility checks at various representative ranges, up to, and exceeding a range at which they could be expected to spot and ID contact. Altitude could have an impact, so fly-bys could be a thing, but it should work at ground level. Or, if no suitable clear vision path is available, it may be viable to use mirrors to increase the path length (though I expect aligning all of those would be painful.) Duplicate, as much as possible, the fly-bys in the game engine.

 

Have several different people view the targets from both the real world and the sim engine, and document the finest bar set they were able to distinguish in each. You don't care so much about how many bars and given person could see; what you are looking for is that each person tested should be able to see about the same number of bars in the sim, as the did in the physical world. (I.e If Fred sees 22 bars in both, and Joe sees only 6, but in both, you're good. If Fred sees 22 in game and in the real world, but Joe sees only 7 in the plane, but 14 in the sim, something is off.)

 

Once you have that, you will be able to test if visibility is working as intended across the useful ranges, and tune it as necessary. (Personally, I suspect, but cannot test, that there are some ranges where visibility in game suddenly drops, or goes weird. This would allow that to be tested quantitatively, rather than by feel.)

 

This test process can also be used against zoom settings, VR displays and screen resolutions, to quantitatively determine if certain zoom settings or display types are giving unnatural performance or not, in a way that is objectively measured, rather than the current subjective processes, and compensate for individual human variability.

 

Addendum: People are probably going to bring up color. Color targets could be tested as well, however black and white and fundamental contrasts, so should be tested and resolved before considering color contrast. Once you start talking color, you've entered into the completed fubared world of color television, color vision, the perception of color and enough mindbreak to write many PhD thesis.

Edited by Voyager
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There's clearly an issue with the visibility of planes between 1 and 7 km, all of them look more or less the same, in my opinion this is obviously unreal and when you fly at 20000ft you can clearly see cars in the highway and even higher. 

 

I understand that the issue is very problematic but if you manage you fix the way you render you will have solved most of the problems people experiment, the most complicated stuff is that there are multiple hardware variables and people often decrease its resolution in order to see bigger dots in their screen.

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I don't have an issue with how short-range spotting is modelled. I do lose close contacts every now and then, but that's when I stop tracking for a moment. I feel that's realistic.

However, I use the VR headset HP Reverb G1, which has a resolution of 2,160 x 2,160 per eye. I cannot spot contacts further out than 5km when I run the headset in full resolution. By downscaling the resolution to 1524p, I can spot out to about 10km (tested by setting up a quick mission battle and placing planes infront of me on the horizon in 5 to 10km distance). I would appreciate if I could run my headset at it's full potential, but that's not possible with the current state of the project. Maybe if a small dot would mark a far away plane instead of upscaling a planes silhouette, and that dot’s contrast would change according to certain criteria like distance, sun position and background, that would level the field for all players with differnt DPI displays.

 

PS. And there seems to be a bug with planes and ground objects flickering out of existance when lod's change at around 5 km.

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10 hours ago, [TLC]MasterPooner said:

@ITAF_Lynx11 how you ascertained the range to the contacts in your pictures.

1,5nm and 2,5nm line abreast formation. Your videos are the perfect example of what I'm saying... hard and not easy... furthermore your contacts are white and dark, we are facing mimetic skins on forest or on land (how much easier it is to spot contact over water even on IL2). Now immagine to have the same contact of your videos in dark green and lets talk about "easy" to spot them. 

 

Plus not all players know that there are specific techniques to get a tally like fix a point and search for moving objects with peripheral view. About this discussion you can see that many players use joy POV or Mouse to increase contact spotting. Having the option to fix your view it is much easier to spot a moving dot rather than having TrackIr that it is constantly moving with head micro-movements.   

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I am all in favor of realism and against any artificial scaling or enhancement of the aircraft. Making the other aircraft too easily visible destroys the realism of air combat and dealing with surprise and the unexpected are the rule. 
 

The reason we have “difficulty” at visibility on a PC game is very simple. Lack of resolution and color depth compared to real life. Those two obstacles can be overcome. 
Resolution: Higher resolution displays and VR headsets are already widely available and will only become more common. It would be better if whatever system exists in the game does not penalize higher resolutions with LOD sizes. The sim should be designed to exploit higher resolution rather than encourage players to lower it. 
 

Color Depth: The solution for this problem already exists with HDR video output. Indeed HDR is nearly universal now in PC and console games, now including MSFS2020. This is the best solution for seeing green painted aircraft against green backgrounds, increasing the color depth from 16.7 million to 1 billion. 
 

I support the idea of improving visibility, but in a realistic manner through rendering and graphics, not through artificial enhancement. 

Edited by SharpeXB
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Realism in any war game is a myth. Someone once said that the only way to make a war game realistic is to shoot at the players while they are playing. They were right. 

 

Flying a WW2 aircraft was physically and mentally exhausting in ways no sim will ever touch. Just think about hard it would be to just push the rudder pedals continuously for 30, 60 90 mins without a break. Think about how hard it really was to check six in that tiny cockpit. Think about what it would really be like to pull Gs until you blackout. Think about how you would feel when you regained consciousnesses (if you did) and had no idea where you were. These aircraft were loud, crude beasts that shook like a tweener after a half gallon of Seattle Dark. IL-2 will never recreate that. 

 

And then there's the grim reality that a single mistake would cost you your life. Think about all those "trick" moves you can do in IL-2 that you'd never attempt in a real aircraft no matter how good (you thought) you were.

 

Realistic fight model? Sure! Realistic damage model? Sure! Realistic historical aircraft, settings, campaigns? Sure! IL-2 does all this well. 

 

But for God's sake people it's a GAME. It will always just be a GAME. Games should be FUN! Make it as FUN as you can! Yes, pseudo-realism is fun, but we like it because it's FUN not because it's realistic. 

 

It's no fun to fly around on a dogfight server and not spot anyone. It would have been a lot more FUN if the '51 and 109 had seen each other and had a little tussle. 

 

So error on the side of making spotting easier so the game is more FUN. 

 

Thanks to the devs for making a great game. For my part I'm having a lot of FUN!

 

Sincerely, 

Mister Fun

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Thank you @Han and @Jason_Williams for reaching out to the community on this important point. I am happy to see that the team actively engages with the pilots and this provides further support to my belief that the future of IL2:BoX is bright. Hopefully it will get only better from here!

 

TL;DR 

=> Main issue is bad visibility, it has nothing to do with realism and is just random / frustrating

=> Main problem is around mid-range contacts after acquisition being too easily lost, but long range and consistency across hardware needs to be tackled too 

=> Sufficient examples out there (IL2 1946, CloD, DCS, BMS, War Thunder) and from pilots (in-game settings tweaks, reshade) - review, combined and create a solution

=> Situation needs to improve as bad visibility currently stops many new pilots from sticking with IL2:BoX 

 

A more detailed outline below: 

 

Realism vs. simulation 

 

I think the question is not focusing on the absolute main issue people are complaining about and mixing the point of „realism“ is not helpful. In my mind „spotting“ is a combination of (i) situational awareness (SA) and (ii) the ability to see / recognize objects (in this case aircrafts), i.e. visibility. You can spot an enemy in RL only if you (i) can physical see him (e.g. the plane is not behind a cloud, sufficiently close etc.) and (ii) if you are actually looking in the right spot in the sky. On the second point the SA plays a major role, you cannot scan 360 degrees vertically and horizontally in a constant manner, so the historical examples of „Holy shit, he came from nowhere!“ are based on gaps in SA and not on the fact that it was physically hard to actually see planes. While we can argue at what distance exactly which plane can be see by a 20/20 pilot, this is beside the point for the purposes of this discussion. I would argue that areal combat is challenging because the situation is constantly changing and it is very hard to know in which area to watch out for aircrafts, not that aircrafts are inherently hard objects to see. I fully agree with @DerSheriff that even with ideal visibility people will still get bounces, surprised etc. The point is proved on servers and in SP if icons and external views are used. It would be logical fallacy to concluded that because visibility is challenging the simulation correctly reflects spotting as based on historical accounts and thus a higher degree of realism is being achieved. My main counter-argument against invoking „realism“ is that IL-2:BoX doesn’t need to be most hardest game in terms of visibility to be most realistic. This would be random and will be just confusing pilots, who also have sufficient other datapoints (as seen by amount of answers in this thread), either as pilots in RL ( @tbuc) or from multitude of other simulators (@ACG_daHeld). Now what seems to be the main issue?

 

Main issue seems to be bad visibility

 

Based on my personal experience and feedback from various other online pilots the main issue seems to be bad visibility. The most common answer received from many pilots is: „I cannot see planes“. Drilling further separates the problem into three categories (i) bad visibility of contacts on long ranges, (ii) disappearing contacts after acquisition at mid-ranges and (iii) inconsistent results depending on settings / hardware. Obviously all three issues should be ideally improved or solved. In terms of priority it seems (purely subjective personal assessment) that (ii) is the most consistent source of frustration across the pilot community. It seems also to have some clear technical sources. I am myself have not been spared from many situations where a contact which is being tracked pops in and out of existence, aircraft which is being tracked at medium altitude is nowhere to be found after a brief glance at own six or instruments, etc. I suspect this is something to do with how LODs are being calculated and transitioned between ranges. I am absolutely fine to loose an IL-2 at 10m height above a forest, but we are talking about inability to maintain a formation of friendly aircraft across several km as mates disappear and appear randomly. This need to improve and this clearly has nothing do to with realism. First point around acquiring contacts on long-range seems vary more widely across the community compared to the second point (again, subjective, personal assessment). Third point is very clear, pilots with great hardware (4K) shouldn’t be penalized by bad visibility. That has nothing do to with realism and is just a technical question of developing the right solutions without abuse potential. So what is to be done? 

 

Take existing examples, create something even better

 

Luckily IL-2:BoX does not exist in vacuum and there are plenty of other flight simulators, many in the same historical setting. Furthermore it benefits from a large and wide community of active pilots. The question on how to model contacts in a simulation has been tackled across several games existing in parallel and there are furthermore sufficient RL studies on the topic. Furthermore there are endless topics here in the forum on how visibility can be improved by tweaking in-game settings (gamma 0.7 anybody?) or through application of external utilities such as reshade. These lessons can be for sure applied to improving the current system. I firmly believe that with rather limited resources a good system can be implemented by just reviewing what others have done and picking the best combination of solutions. No need to invent new ways to track and „focus“ contact (no offense @Requiem, I found your proposal interesting but workload / community acceptance?), just get a logical and consistent framework in place. Maybe the solution could be as simple as making the long distance cons just darker, avoid these being diffused through SS, adding more contrast and sharper edges to mid-range cons and working on colors to avoid planes being sucked-up by the background (obviously taking into account the camo effect)? Maybe improved and upgraded alternative visibility? I don’t know, but I saw how the team reacted and implemented the solution for VR zoom quickly and successfully and I am confident that something can be done here rather quickly.

 

Concluding remark: Spotting will be always challenging. Pilots will always complaint about spotting as sometimes it is easier to blame bad visibility / bad engine rendering and not the fact that in that specific situation you have been looking at the wrong corner of the air. But the current situation needs to improve as it now creates a clear barrier of entry for new pilots wanting to join and enjoy the product. Again this has nothing to do with realism or wanting comfort, just the technical way how visibility is currently being implemented in IL-2:BoX.

 

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20 hours ago, Han said:

 

Hello Han, it is much appreciated as always when the team communicates for user feedback. I had been flying virtual since 1998 from 14 inch monitors with 640x360 resolution to 1440px32 inch I`m using now. I`d like to share my opinion on planes visibility issue and my view on realism vs visibility.

 

20 hours ago, Han said:

Today I would like to discuss with you directly such a difficult topic as the visibility of aircraft in the game. Somewhere in the fall of 2019, we began to notice an increase in dissatisfaction on the part of the community with how things are going with the detection of "contacts" in our project. We spent a lot of time analyzing these claims, and came to the conclusion that most of them are concentrated around the situation with the detection of "contacts" against the landscape on background - that is, in the lower hemisphere. It is alleged that finding planes against the background of the landscape is so difficult that it causes eye fatigue and general tiring from the game. The requirement is that the detection of "contacts" should be comfortable and not irritating.

I confirm the concern that is gamer`s comfort in gaming, IL: Great Battles included. First thing I want to say that I greatly appreciate the "alternate visibility" option you implemented some time ago, because it provided me with long distance spotting of targets without literally putting my face in the screen of the monitor. Both for sky and against terrain spotting. It improved my user experience with IL2:GB. Especially the intercept missions are easier to play whereas while playing BoS campaign years ago, much of these missions I never spotted any enemies. I would also think that the "Alternate visibility" option is a great thing for newcomers who want to delve into realistic flying.

 

20 hours ago, Han said:

I will be honest with you, I am not an impartial party in this matter. I myself really love our project, not only as a developer, but also as a player, and I spend a lot of time in it as a player too. I have always looked for realism in simulators. And the realism of air combat for me - to a great extent - is the realism of the target detection process. In my views, I am guided by the research of historians on the topic of the combat work of the Red Army pilots on the Eastern Front. The harsh historical truth is that most of the Soviet Air Force pilots died without ever seeing an enemy aircraft in the crosshair of their sight. The losses of the Red Army Air Force during the war were many times greater than their original quantity. The war in the air on the Eastern Front was not an easy walk for Soviet pilots - it was a bloody struggle for their homeland, where most were doomed to perish. And I don't really understand how such a historical truth can be compatible with the concept of Comfort in air combat. I do not think that any of the sides was Comfortable in the battle - the Red Army Air Force, Luftwaffe, USAAF, RAF. Air combat is the culmination of the world history of personal and group military confrontation, what kind of comfort can we talk about?

In short, my answer is : user comfort.

In my opinion changing the spotting dynamics for comfort is the same as making start procedures semi automatic. It skips on the (arguably) needless busywork one must do to achieve a certain result. And it is my opinion that spotting should be almost immediately doable for an average virtual pilot at a certain distance.  To skip the head in monitor glass, to improve the formation flying and most of all, to get to the fighting ie. positioning for attack, managing multiple targets. I do not think that I, as a gamer, should be busy with putting my face into my monitor just to see anything I saw 10 seconds ago. I would also like to stress that the only thing I mean in this paragraph is spotting dots - not telling friend from foe.

 

20 hours ago, Han said:

So now let me try to reject emotions and move on to arguments. For the Air Force of the Red Army throughout the war, according to the latest research by historians of the Soviet Air Force, some kind of claims were extremely typical for the inspectors who regulary have checked the condition of the units. Namely - very often, if not most often, the groups scattered after entering the battle with the enemy and could not find each other until they returned to the airfield. Sometimes it happened so that the pilot entering the battle and later leaving it - was not rejoined to his group of aircraft but to another. The pilots themselves often complained that they were unable to observe and search for the enemy, because all attention was spent on formation holding. Memories of battles from all sides are full of situations where the enemy "attacked out of nowhere" or "the fight stopped because visual contact was lost".

I can see what you`re getting at and I respect it. I`ve experienced the same thing while playing IL2:GB. Most of my airkills are unaware human/AI pilots too. I had countless missions where I was disoriented. But it doesn`t mean we can`t improve it.

 

20 hours ago, Han said:

This example suggests that in order to successfully search for air targets, it was necessary to focus the vision and scan the space using a sequential scan method. It also should be noted in this example that neither the RAF fighter group nor the Luftwaffe group spotted each other. It's not about when one single plane was not spotted by another single plane. But the whole group did not see the other group and vice versa. And only one pilot, with maximum eye strain, was able to notice the opponents. Isn't it close to our sim where you need to zoom-in and scan the view with maximum attention for new contacts? I see it is.

Yes, it is close. Question is - isn`t the sim meta overdoing what you just described?

For my self - I rarely (offline or online) see the enemy at a distance of 3-5km at what it is considered I make my move on the target I just choose.  It is for me a case - either I put my face into the monitor or I lose the target I choose at 6km. The zoom helps just a bit, not nearly enough. There had been plenty of threads on here forums where people clearly portrayed that no matter how focused the player becomes on one dot, it will dissapear on him. And appear on his tail or on a different section of the map. In my view of the realism, if I focus on a LOD that is reducing its distance to me, I should be able to track it all the way until I attack. The other targets I can only track in my memory and guess where they are now.

20 hours ago, Han said:

The requirements that we see on the forum say that "we should be able to easily detect targets at mid-range (1..5 km) against the background of the ground with the widest FOV (field of view)." So, this requirement calls on us to take some development that will allow us to detect targets in these conditions with a cursory view and wide FOV.

But my question is - are we trying to do our best to make a realistic air combat simulator? How these requirements are compatible with the desire for realism? Or maybe the pursuit of realism is a myth, and the community needs simplifications and compromises, and not a ultimate-realistic simulation of the combat work of a WWII pilot?

 

You see, that is why I like you guys. You know what I want. And yes, tracking my target at that range against background or sky with the normal FOV should be easily possible I think. Easily means with normal work. At the same time, all other targets, because I`m not tracing them with my eyes, should dissapear on me not because they are physicaly invisible but because my eyesight is fixated on the one target that is moving and I have to maneuver myself not only to keep the visual but also do my combat positioning.

 

For me it is the same as enabling minimap without plane icons. I don`t have to print the map myself, I don`t have to put in target routes and airfield positions because the game does that for me. When you hear it then it is wholy unrealistic, but when you really think about it, it serves user experience and gets rid of the needless busywork.

 

In my opinion the whole game is a compromise (not bad in any way). I don`t know physics but I can fly those planes. I got no knowledge on how the navigation / engine procedures work but I can change the mixture, retract flaps and even navigate wthout plane icons. For combat flight sims, or more generally games, It is never 100/0% realism case. Some shortcuts must be made. Doesn`t mean it`s all a lie. In real world I probably would never qualify for a pilot anyway.

20 hours ago, Han said:

At the same time, two points should be stated.

First, when we introduced 150km visibility in the spring of 2018, haze on the landscape was significantly reduced. In this matter, we met the requirements so that the visibility of the landscape details in the distance should be as good as possible. But the weakening of the haze cannot be done only in the distance, the haze is a continuous matter. And by weakening it in the distance, you inevitably weaken it in the vicinity. This, in turn, leads to an increased saturation of the landscape, against the background of which - due to its variegation - the aircraft is more difficult to spot.
Secondly, there is the problem of 4K monitors, where the DPI (pixel quantity per square inch) is much higher. The existing algorithm for increasing long-range LODs of aircraft takes into account only the size of the aircraft on the screen, expressed in pixels, but DPI is not taken into account. This means that on monitors with increased DPI (which are 4K monitors), the linear (in millimeters) size of the aircraft at a large distance (with all other things being equal) will be smaller than on a fullHD monitor. This happened because 4K monitors entered mainstream use not so long ago.

I did similar thing long ago for all fligh sims. Reduce the ground details and make ground textures more blurry and air contacts sharper and more detailed.

I want very much to make it clear that changing monitors, resolutions and details improved my spotting maybe 15%. It just is never enough and I keep wondering why. At the same time in all the squads I befriended, there is that one guy who sees everything and shoots unaware enemies like flies.

Now my experience - AI always sees me first. Against humans online it is 50/50 so I see him first he dies. As a gamer I never get the feeling that my work did this but only luck.

My 21 years experience is this - it is always guesswork. I fly on 5km altitude in target area, I know they are there somewhere below but I don`t see them. I fly on 2km I know they are on 5km somewhere above but I don`t see them.

The crutch of the matter. Even if I wanted ultimate realism, why is always there a group of players who can spot far better than me? Is it gamma? Is it resolution? Color palette? Do I have to change it every single time I fire up IL2 : GB? Why does technical stuff have to decide on how well I spot planes? It`s very uneven as of now and skills is not the factor that influences this. It is the guy who has found that 1% color/gamma/detail/resolution/blur/view/AA/AF  combination that will kill me 95%of the time. Not because he`s better but cuz he saw me first. I can put my face into monitor glass all day, I won`t get the result he has.

20 hours ago, Han said:

But nevertheless, without denying the two points sounded above, I consider it necessary to clarify the main issue on the visibility of aircraft. We, the gaming community "IL-2 Sturmovik", inside of which I count myself on an equal footing with you, strive for the maximum possible realism in the simulation of air combat in all its aspects? Or are we striving to get the maximum "fun" from virtual air battles - which are based on real battles of the Second World War - and where should not be factors (albeit grounded in realism) that will excessively interfere with us in this?

Thank you for that and I cherish that you guys sometimes change on what you think players are right. I will keep playing IL2:GB because it is a great combat sim, regardless of the issue. I just keep getting the feeling that it could get better in that certain respect.

TL:DR I think the spotting issue exceeds the realism - comfort question. It goes beyond that because of all the pc related limitations we experience.  I don`t have experience nor qualification to tell if spotting is realistic - I can tell only that it is haaaaaard to spot contacts once they get 3km close. I would like that to improve in a sence - I see a dot at 7km I can follow it once I fixate on it. It never feels like my Situational Awareness has priority here, just hardware limitations or pure luck.

Edited by Mac_Messer
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